Successful First Time FWQ Event at Castle Mountain


The only Canadian Freeride World Qualifier event went down this weekend at Castle Montain Resort in Alberta, an hour and a half South West of Lethbridge. As this was a brand new event on the circuit no one knew what to expect for a venue or the comp as a whole, but everyone who showed up was glad they did.

Day 1 took place on the two parallel chutes called Havey's Dream and Murphy's Law. Lookers left of the chutes would have made the vene better, but low coverage resulted in that zone being excluded. 

The girls went first, luckily while the sun shined bright in the sky. Chelsea Sullivan of Whistler skied fluently down the venue, jumping a few features to earn 5th place with a score of 60.33. Becca Hyde from Great Britain found herself in 4th with 65, Kylie Sivell placed 3rd with 76.33, and 2nd place was Sarah Freeman with a score of 77. Top honour went to the hard charging Julie Thomas of Revelstoke, who opened up some fast and well executed turns on the upper section, slowing it down near the bottom and cutting into the extremely rocky section lookers right, finding a nice sized exit air to finish off her run scoring her a 77.33.

Next up were the guys with 44 ready to show there skills on a slightly rocky and technical venue. To make things even harder the clouds rolled in making the light quite flat. The skiing went quite well with most athletes keeping it on their feet. Caleb Mullen of Schweitzer skied smooth as usual finding himself in 11th place with a score of 69.67. Scot Chrisman of Eldora skied a high speed line on the lookers right chute, called Havey's, ending the day in 10th place with a score of 70. Caleb Brown of Fernie, came out of his so called competition retirement to ski a fast run finding five different airs to smoothly show he's still got it, scoring 73 and finding himself in 7th place. Ian Borgeson, the winner of the previous event at Taos, skied one of the fastest runs of the day, scoring 79.33 good enough for 4th place on the day. Tristan Droppert scored 80.67 putting himself in 3rd place. Carter McMillan of Revelstoke skied a very explosive run to score 81 which put him in 2nd place. The winner of the day went to Jacob Boyd from Whistler, who skied very smooth from the top finding a couple smaller airs, then cutting into the lookers right rock section and sending a massive and perfectly execute 360 off of the lower exit air, scoring a huge 88!  

With the stars shining high in the sky Friday night, I knew Saturday was going to be a promising bluebird day, and was it ever! The finals went down in absolutely perfect weather, on a new mandatory avalanche gear venue called Lightning. After a short chairlift ride, a beacon check, and a 25 minute hike we stood ontop of Lightning. After competing in 7 previous competitions all over USA and Canada I can say this was the most technical and intimidating run to date. It started off with a skier's right and left chute that both wrapped around a massive, yet closed exposure, both full of trees and sustained steepness of 45 degrees from top to bottom, full of quite variable snow. Both chutes led into the lower section with a few cliff options and all sort of thick tree entries and exits, meaning very little room for error.

As usual the girls went first, ready to show that they could tear up this venue. Chelsea Sullivan of Whistler proved she can stay on her feet skiing well enough to finish the event in 6th place with a total score of 109.67. Becca Hyde of Great Britain also skied well again to finish in 5th place with a total score of 124.67. Kylie Sivell finished the weekend in 4th place with a total score of 127. Ashley Benbenick stepped it up on Day 2 with the second highest score of the day to finish the weekend in 3rd place with a total score of 129.33. The top run of the day went to Aleta Corbett, scoring 75.33 blowing away the rest of the competitors by 4 points putting herself into 2nd place with a total score of 130.33. Julie Thomas of Revelstoke, last years winner at the Canadian Open at Red Mountain, proved that she's one of the hardest charging skiers in the country once again, winning the Castle Mountain FWQ with a total score of 142.67!

To finish off the weekend were the 25 men who made the cut from Day 1. Most were eager yet somewhat intimidated by such a technical and unforgiving venue. There were quite a few falls on the venue, two of them taking the competitors to the hospital. Jesse Montandon of Kicking Horse smashed into a tree, he was taken off the hill with a possible neck injury but luckily nothing was seriously hurt. The other incident and one of the most terrifying crashes I have witnessed, involved Day 1's 1st place skier Jacob Boyd. He made two nice airs getting through the upper section but clipped one of many tress and spiralled into an uncontrolled tomahawk down the mountain, with the impacts knocking him unconscious. The entire crowd and athletes at the bottom were scared of what was to come of his injuries. He was rushed to hospital, luckily all he had induced was some bruising and a concussion; his now completely destroyed helmet saved his life. It was a scary situation but the event luckily had no serious injuries. 

Scot Chrisman of Eldora showed he can put two solid days together to finish the weekend with a score of 139 finishing in 5th place. Steve Wood finished in 4th place with a score of 140. The previous JFWT slayer and winner of Taos, Ian Borgeson continued his dominance skiing another technical run on Day 2 to finish the weekend in 3rd place with a total score of 153.67. Fernies Caleb Brown put down an extremely technical run, being one of only three competitors to successfully go through the skiers left chute, with a mandatory exit air, narrowly avoiding trees and flowing his run into a massive transfer cliff and finding the control to shut it down before the short runout.

*Editor's Note: Matt humbly forgot to mention who won the event!… He did. Well done Franchise!

This was a great event and only made possible by the extremely ambitious Meagan Klassen, who organized the event and impressively also competed, respectively finishing in 8th place!

I would like to thank Castle Mountain for putting on such a fantastic competition and Shred Kelly for such an amazing after party, some of the rowdiest Blue Grass I had experienced! Since the Canadian Open at Red no longer has a senior event, I can now say Castle is the best Canadian Freeride Competition to happen! It was nice to see all the Canadian competitors once again and I hope to see you all again soon enough!

My road trip continues, arriving back in Big Sky Montana on Monday, preparing myself for the next event: the 4* FWQ event at Moonlight Basin taking place on Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned to for updates on the event! 

MENS Results

Bib Name Nation Combined Score Average Score

22 Matt Francisty CAN 483 161.00

35 Caleb Brown CAN 479 159.67

44 Ian Borgeron 461 153.67

12 Steve Wood USA 420 140.00

21 Scot Chrisman USA 417 139.00

36 Todd Mansfield CAN 415 138.33

14 Forrest Jillson 414 138.00

8 Spencer Romanchuk CAN 400 133.33

70 Chris Shafer USA 398 132.67

29 Adam Siltanen CAN 394 131.33

62 Caleb Mullen USA 378 126.00

3 Scottie Williams USA 374 124.67

38 Justin O'Leary USA 368 122.67

55 Jonathon Vinet CAN 358 119.33

40 Iwan Williams 339 113.00

1 Aaron Darrow USA 331 110.33

34 Jamie Dice CAN 313 104.33

68 Jacob Boyd CAN 264 88.00

19 Jan Langmann 257 85.67

2 Carter McMillan 243 81.00

6 Tristan Droppert USA 242 80.67

Neil Williman 209 69.67

28 Jon Whelan CAN 198 66.00

61 Jesse Montandon 193 64.33

37 Conrad Yarmoloy CAN 172 57.33

WOMENS Results

Bib Name Nation Combined Score Average Score

42 Julie Thomas CAN 428 142.67

53 Aleta Corbett CAN 391 130.33

58 Ashley Benbenick CAN 388 129.33

50 Kylie Sivell CAN 381 127.00

23 Becca Hyde GBR 374 124.67

31 Chelsea Sullivan CAN 329 109.67

51 Jessica Earle USA 328 109.33

16 Meagan Klassen 319 106.33

7 Tess Woods USA 312 104.00

27 Laura Silva CAN 311 103.67

10 Monica Purington USA 296 98.67

69 Sarah Freeman 231 77.00

17 Jessie Reines USA 171 57.00


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